A first film made almost single-handedly on a tiny budget, this is an admirably ambitious stab at the documentary-essay form familiar from films like Chris Marker’s Sunless. A brazenly personal response to Calcutta, it attempts to delve beyond the facile notions the West entertains about the city (‘an example of wretched over-population’), and combines vivid visuals with a narration that plunges fearlessly into economics, politics, religion, sociology and philosophy. Adverts, movie clips, comic strips, stills of the director’s mother, footage of religious ritual and street life merge into a complex web of ideas that are neither hackneyed nor obvious. A tantalising effort.
Director: Uday Bhattacharya.
Stars: Uday Bhattacharya (narrator).